Trudeau says Canadians will likely have to wait until 2021 for first doses of COVID-19 vaccine
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Canada will have to wait for a COVID-19 vaccine as the first one will likely be given to those who live in the country in which they are developed.
“Since the very beginning we knew there would be challenges because unlike the Germans, Americans and the British we don’t have a mass production capacity for vaccines so we had to come up with broader sources than those sources and that’s precisely what we did and we were even criticized internationally because we got too much access to vaccines,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau stated that he understood American companies will likely want to give the vaccines to Americans first, The Associated Press reports.
“Shortly afterwards they will start honoring and delivering the contracts that they signed with other countries including Canada,” Trudeau said. “We’re expecting to start receiving those doses in the first few months of 2021.”
Trudeau reassured that Canadians would not have to wait until all Americans were immunized before receiving vaccines themselves. Canada has pre-bought millions of vaccine candidates from several foreign manufacturers, Trudeau said.
Vaccine access was discussed at the Group of 20 summit this past weekend where Trudeau said, “no one place gets through COVID-19 until all places are through COVID-19.”
Erin O’Toole, Canadian opposition leader and Conservative politician, reportedly criticized Trudeau for not prioritizing Canadian access to vaccines.
Pfizer and Moderna, two American pharmaceutical companies, have announced in recent weeks that their vaccines have been shown to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing the coronavirus. Pfizer has submitted its vaccine candidate for emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration with Moderna expected to quickly follow suit.
Canada is reportedly in talks with the governments of low-income countries to donate extra COVID-19 vaccines that they receive.
Reuters reported last week that Canada had purchased enough vaccines to immunize its entire population multiple times over. A source in the Canadian government told the news outlet that Canada would donate surplus doses through the World Health Organization-backed COVAX facility. A separate source at COVAX confirmed to Reuters that discussions were occurring to donate extra doses.
The European Union has reportedly told its member-states that they too can donate extra doses to middle and low-income countries.
Reuters noted that donating leftover vaccines may not be enough to help low-income countries and that it was important for front-line workers to receive immunizations as quickly as possible in all countries.